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Louis Melini's picture

Cycling Yellowstone and the Grand Teton National Park

Cycling through Grand Teton National Park south of Yellowstone. Cycle Traveller

Imagine riding down a road and coming upon a large open field with a large cloud of steam rising above pockets of bubbling water. There are geologically shaped cauldrons with thick bubbly sulphur-smelling liquid, and further along, a geyser of water shoots into the air. When you get home from your bike tour and tell your friends what you saw, they reply by asking what and how much alcohol you consumed! This was the same reaction to explorers of Yellowstone National Park during the early part of the 19th century. Their reports were thought to be the hallucinations of too much alcohol or outright fabrications. 

Alia Parker's picture

Free food: the art of foraging while on tour

Foood foraged by Woody from Artist as Family. Cycle Traveller

You meet the most inspirational people while cycle touring, and the family I would like to introduce you to here are nothing short of that. We met Artist as Family – Patrick, Meg, young Woody and dog Zero, and since joined by son Zephyr as well – while cycling down from the Daintree Rainforest. The family pedalled off on two tandems from their home in Daylesford in central Victoria, in November 2013, and made their way northwards along the east coast. What was more important to them than geography, however, was the food they would find along the way; not the food typically found in supermarkets, but food foraged from nature, freshly picked and nutrient rich. 

Alia Parker's picture

Africa from west to east: a world first by bicycle

Kate Leeming ready to set off with the President's Special Forces in Puntland. Cycle Traveller

It was an achievement never before accomplished: a bike ride from the western most point of the African continent in Senegal to the Horn of Africa in Somalia, 22,040km to the east. While many have travelled the north-south route, Africa's west-east crossing is thwart with such extreme conditions and dangers that it had never been achieved – that is until adventurer Kate Leeming pedalled into the history books. “I came across every type of terrain and road conditions that you could possibly imagine,” says Leeming as we chat about her new book, Njinga: Breaking the Cycle in Africa, which details the world-first ride she completed in 2010.

Alia Parker's picture

Review: Stop at nothing, the Lance Armstrong story

Stop At Nothing, the Lance Armstrong Story. Cycle Traveller

Back in 2009 I was touring through the United States when I cycled into Austin, Texas, the hometown of Lance Armstrong. On the walls of his bicycle shop Mellow Johnny's hung a collection of yellow jerseys and at one end of the room stood two bicycles ridden in the Tour de France. It was exciting to see. Back then, accusations of doping clouded the world's most famous cyclists, but amid a lack of "evidence", Armstrong remained a seven-time Tour champion. Deep down I had my suspicions, but I shrugged them off; like everyone else, I wanted to believe.

Simon Parker's picture

How an Italian cyclist is cooking his way around Europe

Michele from Cook 'a Bike ready to ride and cook through Europe. Cycle Traveller

Those living in eastern Europe who might find themselves hungry for Italian food in the next few weeks may want to forgo the local restaurant and instead have an Italian cycle tourist come cook for for them at home. That's the tasty proposition on offer by a cycle traveller from northern Italy, Michele, who sets off on July 19 from Pordenone, in north east Italy, on a trip that will take him through Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Latvia and Estonia. What's special about this journey is Michele's offer for people living along his route – his cooking skills. He is offering free in-home Italian cooking lessons as a form of meeting people along the way. And if someone wants to offer him a bed, he would gladly accept.

Alia Parker's picture

Bikepacking Australia's Bicentennial National Trail

Gary's prototype Wayward Bicycle Company bike on the Bicentennial National Trail. Cycle Traveller

It's one of the world's great long distance trails, hardcore to the last grain of dust, and it runs right down the eastern seaboard of Australia. Bikepackers have come to love the 5,330km that is the Bicentennial National Trail, a horse trail that twists and turns along the curves of the Great Dividing Range from Healesville, Victoria to Cooktown, Queensland. Spearheaded by none other than RM Williams himself back in 1972, along with a bunch of other horse-loving bushmen, the BNT as it is known is a tough slog, and one that even the most masochistic of bikepackers needs to detour from every now and again in order to pass.

Francesca Baker's picture

Rail trails and wine in New Zealand's Rimutaka Range

The view from the coast on the Rimutaka Rail Trail. Cycle Traveller

'So just a kilometre from here is the spot they call Siberia,' Stuart tells me. 'It gets so windy there that in September a train was blown off the track and ended up suspended, carriages hanging off like a piece of string.' I'm significantly smaller than a train, balancing on a bicycle, and there is a cyclone coming, funnelling through the Cook Straight's surrounding mountain ranges. This doesn't sound ideal to me. But then for someone who has travelled around the world, covering thousands of kilometres through Europe, Central and South America, on a bike bought for only fifty dollars (and subsequently sold it on after), and confesses to me that he loves to 'feel the pain and achievement' from a good hill, the Rimutaka Incline, part of the cycle trail by the same name, is nothing. Stuart runs Green Jersey, a cycling tour company out in the Wairarapa, a region just outside of New Zealand’s capital city Wellington, and he’s offered to show me around.

Sean Fraenkel's picture

Barking mad: two dogs and a bike on the Dragon's Spine

Sean Fraenkel cycling South Africa's Spine of the Dragon with two dogs. Cycle Traveller

Sean Fraenkel is cycling the 4,000km Spine of the Dragon, a mountain bike trail that stretches from the north of South Africa, through Lesotho and down to Cape Town. To add to the challenge, he is taking his two dogs Turbo and Tequila. Can he do it? Here he tells us about Stage One of this epic journey: The Baobab Trail, where he explores the route's magnificent ancient baobab trees, said to be thousands of years old. With circumferences of up to 47 metres and entire pubs inside, these trees are true wonders.               

Alia Parker's picture

The Melbourne Bicycle Touring Club: cycling since 1973

The Melbourne Bicycle Touring Club cycling in South Gippsland. Cycle Traveller

The average age of club members may be a little older these days, but the wheels continue to spin at the Melbourne Bicycle Touring Club just as they have for the past 41 years. From day rides to multi-day adventures, the MBTC has been bringing cyclists together since 1973, although the club has changed significantly from its early incarnation as an outdoors club for young singles, says MBTC president Elizabeth Ennis. “When they originally started they were doing bushwalking and orienteering and canoeing and all sorts of things and I believe what happened was a lot of them – I think because they were fairly young and didn't have a lot of money – they were riding bikes to get to a lot of the events and eventually they decided that the riding was more interesting and became the Melbourne Bicycle Touring Club,” says Elizabeth.

Alia Parker's picture

How second hand bicycles are changing lives

A woman fetches water on her bicycle in Uganda. Copyright Ebony Butler. Cycle Traveller

When Ebony Butler asked two child soldiers in Northern Uganda what would make a difference to their lives, they answered “bikes”. These were no ordinary children and their request – made in one of the poorest countries on earth – was far from what you would consider to be childish dreams of a new toy. In a region at the mercy of rebel fighters such as Joseph Kony, where bloodshed is rife and children are abducted and forced to become killers, the humble bicycle is worth its weight in gold. “Most people can't afford a bike. There's only a few people that have them,” says Butler, founder of Bikes 4 Life, a not-for-profit group which provides second-hand bicycles to people in need. In Africa, a heavy single-speed bike from China costs about $100 – the same as the cost of a hut to live in and equal to about a quarter of a family's annual income. As a result, walking is the main mode of transport for many rural people.


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